CESNUR - Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni diretto da Massimo Introvigne



by Rotimi Williams Omotoye


The study of Pentecostal Churches is regarded as the third phase in the history of Christianity in Nigeria. The existence of the Churches in this category is a challenge to the existence of Mainline and African Independent Churches. Some of these Churches are: Redeemed Christian Church of God, Deeper Life Christian Church, Living Faith Church, New Testament Church, Rhema Church etc .It is observed that many of them have contributed significantly to the needed religious, political and socio-economic infrastructure for Sustainable Development of Nigeria in the 21st Century. For instance, the establishment of Private universities, hospitals, banks, campaign against AIDS/HIV, scholarships, road maintenance and rehabilitation of drug addicts. However, the story of the Churches are not only “Holistic”, there are abounding “negative” findings that are inimical to the growth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


The objective of this paper is to examine critically the role of Pentecostal churches in National development in Nigeria. There is no doubt that the churches in this category have contributed immensely to the religious, political and socio-economic development of the country. However, the story is not holistic per se because of some unpleasant observations being witnessed in the teachings and practices of the churches.

The methodology to be adopted is the historical survey research design and < descriptive analytical approach employing oral interviews, questionnaires and participant observation as tools for eliciting information.1 This is to avoid generalization which is observed in many earlier works on Pentecostal churches. Many of them are different in styles and liturgy. Ruth Marshall said “Pentecostal” which refers to a “specific set of doctrinal tenets and rituals ignores the heterogeneity of this movement”.2 It may be difficult to have a common and generally accepted definition. In fact, there is no consensus on the beginning of the Pentecostal movement even in the western world. Many western scholars focus on historical continuity of Pentecostalism with the US American Azusa Street Revival or adherence to a doctrine of “initial evidence”.3

         We agree with Richard Burgess definition to certain extent

                  Here I follow Hollenweger and

                  Anderson by adopting a more

                  inclusive definition. They use

                  the term ‘African Pentecostalism’

                  to describe any African church

                  or movement that stresses the

                  experience of the spirit and the

                  practice of spiritual gifts 4

According to him such churches include older AIC called ‘prophet healing’ churches by Turner, mission-related Pentecostal churches and newer African founded Pentecostal Churches, Fellowships and Ministries5 In fact, the above definition may even be offensive to the mainline churches because they claim that the promise of the Holy Spirit which is one of the features of Pentecostalism was a promise of Jesus Christ to every believer. Ayegboyin has this to say on Pentecostalism that “a general term used to describe the groups and sects which have traditionally placed emphasis on the speaking and receiving of certain gifts of the Spirit, such as, speaking in tongues, prophesying and healing as a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.6 In other words, the above definition automatically excluded the mainline churches.

         The history of Christianity in Nigeria up till date are in three phases. The first attempt to introduce Christianity to the geographical area later known as Nigeria was in Benin/Warri areas of Niger Delta in the 15th Century. It was carried out by the Catholic Portuguese Missionaries. However, the attempt was a failure because of some factors already clearly stated by some eminent scholars like Ryder, Ade Ajayi, Erivwo, Lamin Sanneh and Peter Clarke.7

         The European Christian Missionaries made a second attempt to Christianize Nigeria in the 19th century. The Christianization of the country between the 19th-21st centuries came in two phases. The first phase was led by the Methodist mission in September, 1842 under the leadership of Thomas Birch Freeman.8 He entered Abeokuta through Badagry which became an entreport to Yorubaland. The town of Abeokuta became the “sunrise within the tropics”. He was followed closely by Henry Townsend, a missionary of the Church Missionary Society (Anglican), who equally settled in Abeokuta in December, 1842.9 The missionaries were given a rousing welcome and hospitality by Sodeke, the traditional ruler of Abeokuta . These earlier missionaries were followed by the Baptist and Roman Catholic in the evangelization of Yorubaland.The Christian Missionaries equally visited the Eastern part of Nigeria almost at the time they visited Yorubaland. The Christian missionary enterprise was delayed in the Northern part of the country because of religious and political factors.

         Ade Ajayi mentioned in his work, Christian Missions in Nigeria, that

                  The C.M.S. was the largest and the most significant in

                  this period. Being part of the established Church and

                  based in London. It had the greatest influence in the

                  British government. They established their mission in

                  Badagry in 1845. and they led the expansion into the

                  Yoruba country 10


         In other words, the C.M.S. (Anglican) played a prominent role in the evangelization of Nigeria. Apart from the Anglican mission, the Methodist, Baptist and Catholic denominations also made their impact felt in Nigeria before the end of the 19thc. However .the contribution of each mission to this common factor was not equal in men, material, and length of service or significance.

The second phase of Christian missionary activities examined in this paper is the Aladura or African Independent Churches. These Churches include the Cherubim and Seraphim Church (C&S), Church of the Lord (Aladura), Christ Apostolic Church, (C.A.C.), and Celestial Church of Christ (C.C.C.). These were indigenous Churches founded by Nigerians. According to Akin Omoyajowo “the Aladura Churches are Churches which began the indigenous Churches, founded by indigenous persons, and run under indigenous leadership”.11 These Churches were under the leadership of Moses Orimolade, Josiah Olunowo Oshitelu, Joseph Ayo Babalola and Samuel Oshoffa respectively.

         The Aladura Churches combined the two fundamental elements of Christianity and African culture, in a way that advertised their Christian intentions without undermining their African credentials.  They emphasized some features which are relevant and valued by the African people, such as, prophecy, healing, prayer, vision, dream and the use of sacred objects12. Within a few years of existence, most especially, between 1920’s-1960’s, the Aladura Churches grew phenomenally in the nooks and crannies of Yorubaland and beyond. Different scientific and technological strategies of preaching the gospel were introduced in Nigeria

         The next phase of Christianity in Nigeria started in the 1960’s. We have witnessed a phenomenal growth in the establishment of Pentecostal Churches. They have become uncountable in number. It is argued by Chris Obi, quoting Larry Christensen that Pentecostal Churches are seen as: “a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit, whereby the believer speaks forth in a language he never learned, and which he does not understand”13.

We believe that the claim of some Churches to the exclusive repository of the Holy Spirit is not justified because the promise in the book of Prophet Joel and Acts of the Apostles are meant for all Christian believers in Jesus Christ.

         Ruth Marshall once said:

                  One of the most remarkable trends of the last decade

                  among the Christian population of Southern Nigeria has

                  been the dramatic rise of the so-called “Charismatic” or

                  “Pentecostal” movement.14


         The churches often started as “Christian fellowship” centers before they metamorphosize into Churches, such as, the Deeper Life Bible Church with the headquarters in Lagos, under the leadership of Pastor W. Kumuyi, Redeemed Christian Church of God (Pastor E. Adeboye) based in Lagos, Living Faith (Winners) being led by Bishop David Oyedepo (Otta, Ogun State), Rhema Church (George Adegboye (Ilorin), New Testament  Church (Pastor M.R. Popoola (Ilorin), Trumpeters Church, Pastor T. Oludare,( IIesa), Church of God Mission, Benin-City was founded by Late Benson Idahosa and now being led by his wife Bishop Margaret Idahosa. Others are the Household of God’s Church. Oregun, Lagos (Revd. Gabriel Oduyemi), Pastor Partrick Anwuzia’s Zoe Ministries. Revd. Tunde Bakare’s Latter Rain Assembly: Revd. Tunde Joda’s Christ Chapel International; Bishop Francis Wale Oke;s Sword of the Spirits; Prophet T.B. Joshua of Synagogues Church of All Nations, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy Church, and the Dominion Life Bible Church (Pastor Bode Amoo) Ilorin15.

Pentecostalism and National Development       

         It is observed that Christianity is a catalyst of social change in any society. According to J.D.Y Peel, “new needs, values, techniques, and roles, new political, economic and religious systems are interconnected yet not wholly dependent on one another”16. The Mainline churches and African independent churches had earlier evangelized Nigeria with the introduction of some civilizing phenomena. According to Odumuyiwa, Christianity should be involved in governance and development in such areas as socio-economic, educational, religious, moral, political and medical perspectives. He further highlighted and categorized the expected role of the church in the 21st Century thus:

(a)   Humanitarian services

(b)   Educational development

(c)   Employment generation

(d)   Social and ethical development

(e)   Governance by example< 

(f)    Improved economy

(g)   Spiritual and moral development17

 As good as the above issues are, we may not agree with some of the submissions of the writer.

Pentecostalism and Humanitarian services

One of the major aspects of Jesus ministry was Humanitarian service. In fact, in Isaiah 611 Jesus said…“ to bring good tidings to the afflicted, he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives” This was clearly demonstrated in the numerous miracles of healing, feeding of four and five thousand people who were hungry. The Pentecostal Churches in Nigeria has not failed the nation in this regard. At the annual Easter and December retreats of the Deeper Life Bible Church, the participants are given “free food and lodging”. Some years later, “free transport was also added”18. Also, T.B Joshua of Synagogue Church of All Nations based in Lagos is known for his care of the poor and destitute19. Several bags of rice and money are regularly provided for the poor in the society. In 1997, the Living Faith World Outreach provided food, clothing and other relief materials to indigenes of Koma Hills in Adamawa State, where natives had long been disconnected from civilization. A year before then, the church gave relief materials to victims of the Liberian Civil war20. It has been argued elsewhere, that providing such palliatives may not solve the poverty being experienced in the Nigerian society and elsewhere. However, we believe that it is a way of alleviating the sufferings of the common man.

As part of humanitarian services, many of the leaders of the Pentecostal Churches are involved in the campaign against HIV/AIDS. For instance, the Redeemed Christian Church of God is in partnership with the National Agency for the control of AIDS, NACA21. Some of the churches also have scholarship programmers for indigent students. Oyedepo once said “All school age children not in school, due to the inability of parents, will be fully taken care of by the church”22. T.B Joshua is also reported to the provision of the less privileged with education support from primary to tertiary levels. The Living Faith Church has been rendering service on road repairs, most especially, Ota/Idiroko road that leads to the Church is regularly rehabilitated.23 Some of the churches are gradually becoming training grounds for National football players. For instance, Joshua’s football academy provided two players to the Nigerian U-17 World Championship in 2009.So also; Mike Okinawa’s football team is assisting in fishing out capable Nigerian football players24.

It is interesting to note that churches have also gone to the area of conflict resolutions in Nigeria. Ladi Thompson, the co-coordinator of Macedonian Initiative is a good example in this regard. Many communal disputes, religious and family problems are being handled by him.25

The Pentecostal Churches have also been noted for her healing programmes. Owoeye, once said “Healing and miracles are central to the teaching of Pentecostal Churches”.26 In other words, every believer is expected to enjoy good and robust health. In this regard a lot of propaganda is put in place to attract people to the revivals and crusades for divine healing.

In fact, almost all of them do claim the power of healing. It is a factor that has made the Churches to attract many members of the mission Churches. However, many of such healings are contestable and seem not to be real. Even, some of the Pentecostal church leaders do condemn some healing miracles of others. For instance, Don Akhilomen observed that the healings of Prophet T.B Joshua of the Synagogue Church of All Nations and Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of the Christ Embassy Church, have been “accused as deriving their powers from Satan, the devil in whose power, it is thought the many awe-inspiring and wonderful miracles are effected to the bewilderment and consternation of the un-initiated as a manipulative strategy”.27 The Pentecostal fellowship an umbrella of the church condemns the activities of T.B Joshua.28 It is not our concern in this paper to join issues with both parties.<  Our interest is to note that many healing miracles are claimed to have been recorded in open revivals and faith clinic homes. For example, the annual and monthly Holy Ghost revival of the Redeemed Christian Church of God under the leadership of Pastor E. Adeboye is of great value in this regard. Many sicknesses that are beyond the ability of medical doctors are claimed to have been healed in some of the Pentecostal Churches.

Another area which will be critically examined is the prosperity message of the Pentecostal churches. It is believed that those that are poor are not enjoying the goodness of God. In other words, every Christian should not experience sickness, poverty, unemployment and other human problems. The question is: Is this the position of Jesus teaching on prosperity?

An aspect of the major contribution of the Church in general is the development of Western education. The Pentecostal Churches are not found wanting in this regard. In fact, many of the leaders and founders of such Churches are elite and well educated. So, their interest in education is of great importance.  For example, the Late Benson Idahosa, W.F. Kumuyi, David Oyedepo, Mike Bamidele, E.A Adeboye etc attended tertiary institutions within and outside Nigeria. In fact, the qualities of their teachings and Bible expositions and charisma have made them to be attractive to the people. The initial philosophy of education by the early missionaries in still relevant till date. According to Samuel Ajayi Crowther

                       The school was Crowther’s chief

                       method of evangelization. He

                       introduced the mission into new

                       places by setting rulers and

                       elders interested in the idea of            

                       a school of their own and

                       usually it was the school that

                       he asked the senior missionary

                       at each station to give his

                       chief attention29


Many Pentecostal Churches have Nursery, Primary, Secondary and even Private University. The latter is a new dimension in the history of education in Nigeria. Even though, the programme is being criticized as too expensive and beyond the reach of the common man. In fact, some people believe that it is a diversionary trend from the initial thought of the early missionaries.

The following Christian Universities are in place in Nigeria.

(1)  Covenant University, Otta, Ogun State, was established by the Living Faith Church.

(2)  Babcock University, Illisan, Remo, Ogun State, was established by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

(3)  Bowen University, Iwo, was established by the Baptist Church.

(4) Benson Idahosa University, Benin, was established by the God of Church Mission.

(5)  Bingham University was established by the ECWA Church.

(6)  Redeemed University was established by the Redeemed Christian Church of God

(7)  Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo was established by the Anglican Church.

(8)    Crawford University, Igbesa, was established by the Apostolic Faith Church.

(9) Caritas University, Abuja, was established by the Catholic Church     

(10)  Wesley University of Technology, Ondo, was established by the Methodist Church.30

          Many other Christian Universities are being proposed and in pipeline. For instance, the Deeper Life Bible Church is proposing Anchor University to be sited in Abuja, while Pastor Wale Oke of the Sword of Spirit and the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry of Pastor Olukoya is proposing Mountain University to be sited in Lagos. So also, T.B. Joshua has promised to build a University for the less privileged youths in the society31.

These institutions no doubt have given many Nigerian applicants the opportunity of accomplishing their life ambition of attending University in Nigeria. The competition in the public Universities is too keen and cannot accommodate the increasing number of applicants every year.

In other words, many Nigerians are provided desired education and employment opportunities in these institutions. It is observed that there is an un-interrupted academic calendar in such schools, and Christian moral principles are emphasized. This is highly commendable and appreciated. The man power being provided for the political, social, religious and economic class is of great benefit to national development.

The Pentecostal churches have also contributed immensely to the development of media and internet facilities in Nigeria, most especially in the 20th and 21st centuries. The publication of tracts, magazines, novels and writings in national dailies are regular features. For example, Mrs. Faith Oyedepo, Pastor D. Oyedepo, W.F Kumuyi, Enoch A. Adeboye , T.B Joshua are regular writers in National dailies.32 Magazines like the  Christian women mirror, Redemption Light Magazine, Winners world, Fire in the word and Life Magazine are published regularly for Christian  women in particular and  Nigerian women in general. Apart from magazines, interesting books are common in bookshops for people to read. Majority of the Christian literature are published by the Pentecostal Church leaders. For instance, W.F. Kumuyi, E.A Adeboye, David Oyedepo, Daniel Olukoya, Chris Oyakhilome and Sam Adeyemi are prolific writers.  

The radio and television method of communication is a common phenomenon today. Some of the Pentecostal pastors have regular and appointed times to preach the gospel on the radio and television at the Federal, State and Private Stations. Programme on Radio includes devotional services which involve only morning and evening prayers mostly on government stations, Sunday worship services, giggles and announcement of revival meetings and church programmes, full length preaching/ teaching programmes and occasional interviews granted to church ministers. There are about ten radio stations in Lagos alone, broadcasting close to 60 full length religious programmes per week ,ranging from 15-55minutes in length. Some of the radio  stations based in Lagos are, Metro FM(Federal),EKO FM and Radio 107.5(Lagos State),Ray Power FM,   Cool FM,   Rhythm FM, Star FM  ,Bond FM and Choice FM. Pastor Mike Bamidele  speaks on Radio Osun everyday at 6.25am, Sola Areogun of Life Oasis preaches on Osun radio for fifteen minutes every day. Pastor Isaac Omolehin of the Word Commission, Ilorin features on Kwara radio every  < Sunday morning at 7.30am33.

According to Don Akhilomen, Televangelism is a phenomenon in recent missionary efforts across the globe whereby the benefit of Television as one of the modern advancements in the ever-increasing field of science and technology is tapped and appropriated for the spread and advancement of missionary objectives34. Pastor George Adegboye, Joseph Mohammed Alli and M.R. Popoola are regularly featuring on the Nigerian Television Authority, Ilorin every Sunday. Many believers and un-believers are reached through radio and television programmes. In fact, many of the Pentecostal pastors are having private satellite to reach and preach the gospel.

Late Archbishop Benson Idahosa made the first attempt at televangelism on Bendel Television in 1974 and it was indeed a huge success. Ayo  Oritsejafor who was a close assistant and later an overseer of his own ministry also effectively made use of the television to preach the gospel. In Lagos, Pastors like Chris Oyakhilome of the Christ Embassy, Chris Okotie of Household of God church, Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Joda of the Christ Chapel International Church, E.A Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Samsom Ayorinde of World Evangelism Bible Church and Matthew Ashimolowo of the Kingsway International Christian center (all of Lagos) are some of the prominent televangelists on the airwaves of Lagos television stations35.

The Pentecostal churches have adequately and judiciously made use of drama to teach the gospel. Ojo observed that charismatic/Pentecostal movements have created new avenues of ministering to Christians in this area. He stressed further that, in recent times some groups especially within the Pentecostal churches, have lifted this aspect of ministry to great height by professionalizing Christian drama36. The Mount Zion film ministry in particular has taught and converted many people into Christianity through various films like, the Ultimate Power (Agbara nla), the Great Mistake, Lost Forever and Storm of Life. Many lessons are learnt in viewing these films. The Ultimate Power of Jesus Christ is demonstrated in each of the films37.

The Pentecostal ministries rely so much on modern technology like computers, e-mail and internet to disseminate messages to the members of their churches. Most especially, every morning or monthly preaching is sent through GSM to their numerous members. Preachings are read on computer and internet to encourage believers.

In the political development of the country, some Pentecostal pastors are known to be active participants. Rev. Chris Okotie was a presidential candidate of the Fresh party in the 2007 general election. Even though, he lost the election, at least it is an indication that, he felt, that he was capable of providing good leadership in a sustainable democracy. Of recent, Pastor Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos took part in “Save Nigeria Group” led by Nobel Laurel, Wole Soyinka to protest the absence of President Yar-Adua in Nigeria for over fifty days without allowing the Vice President, Good-luck Jonathan to act as the President and Commander in Chief of Armed Forces. In justifying his participation in the rally, he said “We need to spearhead effective social mobilization, rebuild the spiritual streets and the walls of our nation and influence what is happening there. It is time for the true church to come out of the closet and rebuild ancient ruins”38. Some months ago, Pastor Smart Adeyemi led a group of protestants against incessant power failure in Lagos. This is an indication of identifying with the common man on the street and requesting for sustainable democracy. Many politicians often go to the Pastors for prayers and counseling when election is fast approaching. The old expression that “politics is a dirty game”39 is being addressed positively in the 21st century by the Church in Nigeria. Bakare said “that is why you and I ought to rise. Regardless of the toga we wear or our occupational identity, we’re first and foremost Nigerians. Until we rise and say enough is enough, it’s going to continue. Because freedom is never granted to the oppressed”40. I believe that the above expression from a Pentecostal pastor is to say that men of God or Christians must ensure that the democratic structure or experiment must be sustained.

Challenges of the Pentecostal churches in National Development.

Having examined some of the contributions of the Pentecostal churches to National development, we have a duty as scholars of Religion to consider their activities critically because the gospel of Jesus Christ is being given a new interpretation daily.

The vogue in the teachings of the majority of these churches is based on prosperity teaching. In fact, many of these churches are now given different derogative names. Abogunrin refers to such churches as “health and wealth” gospel. According to him “young graduates of Universities and Polytechnics who could not find jobs started to float churches”41. The teaching of holiness is being gradually abandoned in preference for prosperity teaching. Some of these pastors are the late Arch- Bishop Benson Idahosa, Bishop David Oyedepo etc.

Our area of concern in this study is that, many of the Pastors do not bother about the money being brought to the church. We believe that this is encouraging bribery and corruption in our nation. There are stories of people stealing money in their place of work and donating millions of naira to some churches. In the month of March, 2003, Lawrence Agada, a cashier at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel and Towers was arrested for stealing 40million naira from his employers. During interrogation, he confessed that he gave all the money to Christ Embassy, pastured by Chris Oyakhilome in cash and equipment.42 Another case was also reported of Dipo Kehinde of Eko International Bank, who stole 39 million naira from his employer out of which he gave 10 million to Christ Embassy as “seed money”, with the hope that it would yield several millions of money later.43

According to Dada “in Nigeria today, as in most African countries, poverty, distress, violence and corruption are ever present realities”44. According to him prosperity gospel is probably an answer to the situation. The prosperity preachers believed that poverty is a sign of sickness that must be wiped out of the society. Positive confession is encouraged and sowing of seed of faith is the hallmark of such churches.

The question then is; Is everybody in such churches as rich as proclaimed? This question and more have been answered adequately by Dada and Abogunrin in their scholarly works. It is a delusion and false hope being given to the worshippers. It is believed that the interpretation of the teaching of Jesus Christ is not properly done. How do we interpret the saying of Jesus that: the poor will always be with you?

 It is also observed that it is true that the establishment of Private Universities by some of the churches would create employment and provide admission to the admission seekers. The question is: How many poor people in the church could afford to send their children to such schools they labour to build as church members? It is being seen as business enterprise in Nigeria. In fact, it has become a rat race among the major Pentecostal preachers to establish such schools.

Space contestation is another challenge being witnessed among the Pentecostal churches. A cursory look at the competition for land along Ibadan/Lagos express road is a food for thought. Motorists and road users are made to suffer un-necessary hardship and agony during daily, monthly and annual church programmes. For example, the Holy Ghost programmes of the Redeemed Church of God,and Mountain of Fire and Miracles, often delayed motorists for hours on the road because of hold-up. In some cities, they struggle for accommodation and religious worship centers. According to Abogunrin, “they are found in their tens and scores on a single street … sometimes two or three churches occupy different floors of the same building, each with its loud speakers disturbing not only each other, but the general public, especially at night”45. There are bickering, misunderstanding, enmity and strife among some of these churches that are clustered in same location. In fact, they have become nuisance to many Nigerians living close to them.

 It is interesting to note that Pastor Tunde Bakare once described some of the churches as theatres for amusement or relaxation. According to him, “in most churches today, one lone star rises and others come to watch him perform”46. Many of the Pentecostal church founders are the “Alpha and Omega” of such churches. They are worshipped like gods with bodyguards and difficult to be seen by the members of the church. Did Jesus behave that way? Righteousness has been thrown overboard. According to Tunde Bakare “most of these treasury looters and robbers sit in the front row of our churches and donate the largest amount and Pastors don’t care”47.

The fundamental interpretation of the gospel is a serious challenge in the Pentecostal churches. Bakare while criticizing some other Pentecostal churches said “The Christianity of chattels, of oil, of mantle, of washing of feet? Where are those things? They should show it to me in the bible”48. In fact, unbelievers are confused with different and incorrect interpretation and application of the Bible to almost every human endeavour. In fact, he accused David Oyedepo of heresy when the latter wrote in one of his books that “The anointing oil is not the symbol of the Holy Spirit, but the life of God in the bottle”49. The interpretation has led to controversy and disagreement among the Pentecostal Pastors.

In fact, many of the miracles and divine healings being shown on the televisions are doubted. Are they true? As Christians, we believe in the power of Jesus to heal the sick. But many charlatan preachers nowadays play on the intelligence of the members of the church by deceiving them. It got to a stage that the Nigeria government banned the showing of such miracles on the televisions because it became ridiculous unconvincing and unreliable!


The Pentecostal Churches have a humble beginning in Nigeria. Many church leaders like Late Benson Idahosa, Wale Oke, Simeon Okah, Ayo Oritsejafor, David Oyedepo, Tunde Bakare, E.A. Adeboye and others have played and are still playing prominent roles in the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In most cases, the emphasis in the 21st century is prosperity gospel. Many of these churches have contributed immensely to sustainable development in the religious, political and socio-economic development of Nigeria. At least, they encourage their worshippers to serve God and live Holy lives in spite of the economic melt-down in the country in particular and the World at large. In some cases, they have contributed to the establishment of schools and provide manpower for national development. It is also noted that the Churches have adequately challenged and influenced the Mainline Churches50. For instance, the features of praying, clapping, revival for miracles, night vigils etc have been embraced. The Pentecostal Churches have also benefited from the Administrative structure of the Mainline Churches.

Nevertheless, the interpretation being given to the gospel is a food for thought. The issue of prosperity gospel should be re-examined. There is a need to emphasize holiness and righteousness well and above every other thing. For democracy to be sustained in Nigeria, the church must be revived, defended and protected. It is then the expected good governance may be achieved in Nigeria. The church must complement the efforts of the government and give a right direction by preaching the gospel with courage and forthrightness.

Notes and References


1       L.M Ogunewu, “The Media and Communication Technologies as Strategies for Evangelization and Teaching in the Deeper Christian Life Ministry in Lagos 1975-2005”, unpublished PhD Thesis submitted to the Post-graduate School, University of Ibadan, Ibadan 2009, p9.

2       Ruth Marshall, “Pentecostalism in Southern Nigeria” in New Dimensions in African Christianity, Paul Gifford (eds), Ibadan,Sefer, 1993 p9.

3       Richard Burgess, Nigeria’s Christian Revolution: The Civil War Revival and its Pentecostal Progeny (1967-2006), India; Richard Burgess, 2008 p5.

4       Ibid p6

5       Ibid p6

6       Deji Ayegboyin and S. Ademola Ishola, African Indigenous Churches An Historical Perspective, Lagos: Greater Heights Publication,1997 p16

7       Rotimi Omotoye. “The Concept of God and its Understanding by the Christian Missionaries in Yorubaland” in God the Contemporary Discussion, E. Ade Odumuyiwa (ed) etal, Ilorin, Decency printers 2005 p105.

8       Ogbu Kalu (ed), Christianity in West Africa ,The Nigerian Story, Ibadan, Daystar press, 1978 p.255

9       Ibid p.257

10    J. F. Ade Ajayi, Christian Mission in Nigeria 1841-1891 The Making of a New Elite, London: Longman, 1965 pxiv

11    Akin Omoyajowo, “The Aladura Churches in Nigeria since Independence” Edward Fashole-Luke (ed) etal Christianity in Independent Africa, London: Rex Collins, 1979 p96

12    Rotimi Omotoye, “Christianity and Cultural Development: An Examination of Aladura churches in Yorubaland” in Dialogue issues in contemporary Discussion, Ade P. Dopamu (ed) etal, Lagos, Big Small, 2007, pp335-340 

13    Rotimi Omotoye, “Communication and the Universality of the Gospel in Yorubaland” in Science and Religion in the service of Humanity, Ade P. Dopamu (ed) etal Ilorin, Local Society Initiatives (LSI), 2006 p.42

14    Ruth Marshall, “Pentecostalism in Southern Nigeria” p.8

15    Rotimi Omotoye, “Communication and the Universality of the Gospel in Yorubaland” p. 43

16    J.D.Y Peel, Aladura: A Religious Movement Among the Yoruba,London:Oxford University Press,1968 p.36

17    E.Ade Odumuyiwa,”Christianity, Governance and Development: A case Study of Nigeria in the 21stCentury” in Religion, Governance and Development in the 21st century. R.A. Raji (ed) etal p211

18    Matthews A. Ojo, “Deeper Life Bible Church of Nigeria” in New Dimension in African Christianity p. 166

19    The News Magazine, titled Inside Nigerian Churches, the Good and the Bad, volume 33 No 24, 21 December, 2009 p.21

20    Ibid p. 21

21    Ibid

22    Ibid

23    Ibid

24    Ibid

25    Ibid

26    S.A. Owoeye, “Pentecostal Churches and Prosperity in South Western Nigeria,” in God the Contemporary Discussion, E.A. Odumuyiwa (ed) etal, Ilorin: Decency Printers,2005,p505.

27    Don Akhilomen,”An Overview of the Healing Ministries of T.B Joshua and Chris Oyakhilome in Nigeria” in God the Contemporary Discussion, E.A. Odumuyiwa (ed) etal Ilorin: Decency Printers,2005 p505.

28    The Westerner Magazine, titled The Truth about T. B. Joshua vol. No 7, May 18 2009 p. 13

29    J. F. Ade Ajayi p. 218

30    Rotimi Omotoye, “Christianity and Educational Development: A case Study of Christian Missionary Universities in Nigeria in the 21st century” in Religion, Governance and Development in the 21stcentury, R.A. Raji (ed) etal, Ilorin, Decency Printers,2006 ,p136

31    The News Magazine, Inside Nigerian Churches The Good and the Bad vol. 33 No 24, 21 December, 2009. p. 21

32    Rotimi Omotoye, “Communication and the Universality of the Gospel in Yorubaland” p. 47

33    L. M. Ogunewu p. 50

34    Don Akhilomen, “Televangelism and the Development of the Nigerian Child” in Religion, Ethics and Population Development, Ilorin: Decency Press, 2007 p.29

35    L. M. Ogunewu p. 51

36    L. M. Ogunewu Ibid

37    Rotimi Omotoye, “Communication and the Universality of the Gospel in Yorubaland” p. 48 < 

38    Nigerian Tribune,Monday,18th January,2010 p3

39    The News Magazine, “Why I quit Redeemed Church” by Pastor Bakare volume 33 No 20,dated 23rd November,2009,pp21-22

40    Ibid

41    S.O Abogunrin (ed) etal “Jesus Pronouncements on Wealth  in the context of Health and Wealth Gospel in Nigeria” in Biblical Studies and Corruption in Nigeria, Ibadan: M. Alofe Nigeria Enterprises,2007 pp274-278

42    News Magazine, Inside Nigerian Churches p.20

43    Ibid

44    O.A Dada, “Prosperity Gospel in Nigerian Context: A medium of Social Transformation or An Impetus for Delusion?, Orita Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies xxxvi/1-2 June@ December 2004 p.96

45    S.O Abogunrin (ed) etal “Jesus Pronouncements on Wealth  in the context of Health and Wealth Gospel in Nigeria” in Biblical Studies and Corruption in Nigeria, Ibadan: M. Alofe Nigeria Enterprises,2007 pp274-278

46    Ibid

47    The News Magazine, why I Quit Redeemed Church p. 20

48    Ibid p. 21

49    Ibid

50    Ibid

51    Rotimi Omotoye, “Divine Healing” in the Aladura Churches: A Phenomenon of Challenge to the Mainline Churches in Nigeria, Journal of Arabic and Religious studies, volume 13 December, 1996-1999 pp 60-